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There Are More Houstons To Come

Category: Environment
Posted: 08/28/17 13:05

by Dave Mindeman

Houston is the 4th largest city in the US. It is built on the coast. It is built over marshland.

In a country run by climate deniers, Houston is not just a disaster but it is also a symptom. A symptom we need to react to and plan for.

The global temperature is warming...faster than predicted. And ignoring the effects is not only a state of denial, it is a tragic mistake. Our coastline cities are vulnerable to events like Houston is experiencing. And we still have not properly protected New Orleans from another Katrina like event.

Are we going to band aid these disaster as they come up with massive investments in emergency services? or are we going to make the harder decision of investments in prevention.

We seem to be in love with ocean front housing. We move farther out and on shakier foundations. We build houses on stilts as if that is smart thinking. We reclaim land from the sea only to give it back quickly and at devastating costs.

The ocean is going to reclaim more land. And storms are going to get worse and with more devastating consequences. Our coastlines need better management and better planning. It is flat out wrong to subsidize this foolishness. And it is unfair to the rest of American taxpayers to pay for rebuilding on unsafe ground.

We have past the point of stopping global warming. Let's face facts. We can only hope to contain it some and that would require a political philosophy shift. One that again has been delayed by an election gone wrong.

Instead of making Al Gore the focus of ridicule, how about we listen to his message. He has been right about climate change. And all the denials and made up facts from the other side have been proved wrong or undergone yet another talking point revision.

Houston is a symptom of a broader coming catastrophe. The ongoing debate about those effects is a foolish waste of time. Time we may have less of than before. Time we may regret with our inaction.

The simple truth is that we must have a drastic political change. We need climate to come to the forefront of current debate. We need to get rid of fossil fuel industry doctored facts and advertising tripe.

There are more Houstons waiting in the wings. We need to address that emergency - but we need to look ahead and get realistic about coastal development and protection.
comments (1) permalink
09/01/17 21:01
Gore did more harm by making this a partisan issue than any other voice in this debate.

I think we can all agree that the middle of San Francisco Bay should not be settled with low income housing. I think we can all agree that the Everglades should not be settled with low income housing. We can all agree that the water is rising. At issue is what to do about it. Rebuilding below sea level makes no sense.

In part, the flood insurance program is under water (pun intended) because we are rebuilding homes for the third time in a decade. The smart kids in the room need to make a call here. If the person rebuilding is not smart enough to understand gravity and that water flows to the lowest level, then smarter people need to step in. Allowing a rebuild invites further destruction of the insurance pool. Ditto for 3rd heart transplants for opium addicted patients, but I digress.

Houston thrives as a little to no rules community. You want to fill inexpensive swamps to build cheap and affordable slab homes, then you could do just that--and they did.

New Jersey used the flood insurance premium as a hammer to get reforms. Add at least 24" of elevation and your premium will be $7K/year. Fail to do that and the premium goes to $30K/year. Taking this one step further, add 10' of elevation and you won't need flood insurance--suggesting a move instead of a rebuild.

If the discussion is about climate change mitigation, then I'm all in. Make this about taking away my ability to get to work by taking away gasoline and well, you lose me. Make this debate about ending mass transit by aircraft and I'm all in. Taking away people's ability to heat their homes in the winter and I'll fight you tooth-and-nail.

Florida needs to be evacuated. New Orleans needs to be evacuated. South of Houston needs to be evacuated. Many south pacific islands need to be evacuated. Make this a discussion about that and I'm all in.

Absolutely keep on inventing and investing in engineering to end the seemingly endless burning of fuel to carry out our daily lives. But this is not going to happen overnight. A focus on real solutions is the only focus that should see daylight. The Gore solution simply attempts to shift the supply/demand curve operated by the dreaded invisible hand--the side effect of which is the unintended consequence of enriching tyrants and dictators.

Paris was a joke and Trump correctly labeled it for the Gore hoax that it was--a hoax. Solutions that cripple our economic engine and provide 0.1 degree of improvement while allowing our enemies to thrive is near treason.


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